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Citizenship by descent

Citizenship by descent (Iure sanguinis)

Italian citizenship can be passed on from one generation to the next with no limitations, provided that:
• the ancestor born in Italy was an Italian citizen at the time of his descendants’ birth;
• neither the applicant nor any of the family members in direct line of descent have ever renounced their Italian citizenship.

The route to Italian citizenship through direct maternal lineage is possible only for descendants born on or after January 1st 1948.

The law in effect at the time of the descendant’s birth rules the individual cases and determines their requirements.



If you are above the age of 18 and you think you may be eligible for Italian citizenship by descent, you can submit an application to our Embassy. Applications must be lodged in person at our office in Wellington by appointment only. 


To book an appointment please click Prenot@Mi



Please note that we only accept applications from NZ resident citizens or foreign permanent residents of NZ.

Please also note that if you or your ancestor was born in a country other than NZ, the application process will be longer there if you were to sumbit the application in your country of origin as we will have to elicit advice on your application from the relevant Consulate/Embassy in your or your ancestor country of origin.

At the appointment at the Embassy, the applicant must submit the following required documentation:

  1. Application for Recognition of Italian Citizenship (pdf version here)
  2. Copy of valid passport
  3. Copy of valid visa proving the status of resident (only for not NZ passport holders).
  4. Family tree (pdf version here). In completing the family tree the applicant must start with the first Italian ancestor who was born in Italy and emigrated from Italy. It is also important that the applicant completes all the relevant information in the family tree in terms of the naturalization or non-naturalization of the first ancestor who emigrated from Italy. This is an essential piece of information to be able to make an accurate determination as to entitlement to Italian citizenship.
  5. Documentation proving the Citizenship claim to be provided with the application:
    1. For the ancestor: Birth, Marriage/Divorce, Death Certificates and Naturalization or Non-naturalization Certificates (to be presented only for the ancestor born in Italy);
    2. For all the descendents of the ancestor: Birth, Marriage/Divorce and Death Certificates;
    3. For the applicant: Birth, Marriage/Divorce Certificates;
    4. All the above Certificates (except for Italian Certificates) must be legalized and translated (see below the section “Legalization and Translation”).
  6. The citizenship consular fee. Please note that the fee is not refundable and is due regardless of the application outcome.
  7. The applicant must arrange each family member’s Certificates in their own individually named folder/file.

Should the need for further clarification arise, the Consular Office may request additional documentation.

In case of adult applicants (over the age of 18) whose parents are Italian citizens currently registered in the Consular Registry of the Embassy of Italy in Wellington, it may be sufficient to submit an application including only: Application, Applicant’s Birth/Marriage/Divorce Certificates, Citizenship Consular Fee.

Please note that it is entirely the applicant’s responsibility to gather and provide all the required documentation to assess his/her claim to Italian citizenship. The Embassy does not provide advise on Citizenship applications. Information elicited via email/phone or in person cannot and will not receive a formal feedback. For general information please refer to this webpage and to the below FAQs.



All non-Italian Certificates (birth, marriage, death, naturalization/no naturalization certificates) must be legalized and translated for International use.


  • If the Country of the issuing of the certificate is a signatory to the 1961 “Apostille Convention”, an Apostille is issued by the designated authority of the Country. Check the list of signatory countries here.
  • If the Country is not a signatory to the 1961 “Apostille Convention”, the Italian Consular authorities in the Country where the certificate has been issued must do the legalization.


An official full translation into the Italian language must be attached. New Zealand certificates are translated by the Department of Internal Affairs – Translation Service or any other profesisonal translator. Please check the dedicated page on this website.  Translations done in New Zealand of Certificates issued in English speaking Countries are allowed (e.g. Australia, Usa, South Africa).

Note that double translations are not accepted (i.e. from Spanish to English and then from English to Italian).

Certificates that are not in English language must be translated by an official translator, registered with the professional body of translators in the country where the documents are issued (traduzione giurata). The translation must be accompanied by the legalization AND by the apostille attached to the “Traducción publica” con firma digital (Argentinian documents) or by apostille attached directly to the translation (Brazilian documents).

In countries where it is not possible to have translators’ signature apostilled, translations must be certified by the Italian Consular/Diplomatic Authority of the country in which the certificates are issued, by means of a sticker/stamp that certifies its conformity to the original text.

In countries that have not adhered to the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 and do not use Apostille, documents must be legalized by the Italian diplomatic-consular representation in the Country, and translated into Italian by an official translator. Translations must subsequently be certified by the Italian diplomatic-consular representation in the country of the documents.



If any of the applicant’s predecessors/relatives in direct line from the same ancestor has already had their Citizenship recognised/confirmed by the Embassy of Italy in Wellington, they are not required to re-present documentation already presented by the predecessor/relative. Please quote their application/file in your application. If the Citizenship was recognised/confirmed by another Embassy/Consulate, all documentation must be re-submitted.



Q. I live in New Zealand on a temporary basis, can I apply for recognition of Italian citizenship though the Italian Embassy in Wellington?
Only applications by citizens or permanent residents of New Zealand (holders of indefinite re-entry New Zealand visas) may apply in the Italian Embassy in Wellington.

Q. I was born in New Zealand but I have an Italian direct ascendant. Am I entitled to dual citizenship?
A. You might, but this is a case-by-case matter. You need to file an application and the Embassy will check the original documents in due time and ascertain if you are eligible or not. Please Note: those who were born before January 1, 1948 may obtain Italian citizenship only through paternal direct ascendants.

Q. I was born in New Zealand, my father was an Italian citizen at the time of my birth and I have never renounced my Italian citizenship. Am I entitled to Italian citizenship?
A. Yes.

Q. I was born in New Zealand after January 1, 1948, I have never renounced my Italian citizenship, and my mother was an Italian citizen at the time of my birth. Am I entitled to Italian citizenship?
A. Yes.

Q. My father was born in New Zealand and my paternal grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of my father’s birth and neither I nor my father ever renounced Italian citizenship. I’m entitled to Italian citizenship?
A. Yes.

Q. I was born after January 1, 1948, my mother was born in New Zealand and my maternal grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of my mother’s birth and neither I nor my mother ever renounced Italian citizenship. I’m entitled to Italian citizenship?
A. Yes.

Q. How long will the process of recognition of Italian citizenship take?
A. The process starts from the date when you submit your application, together with required documentation and the Consular Fees and may take up to 48 months. If additional documentation is requested from the Embassy this will stop the processing time, which will restart when the documents are received.

Q. If your Italian citizenship is not recognized will the fee be returned?
A. No, the fee is not reimbursable in any case.

Q. Where can I get more information on Italian Citizesnhip Laws and regulations?
A. Please refer to the Citizesnhip Page of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.